Award Winning Chili

I followed this recipe and it came out veryyyy goooood……

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/78299/boilermaker-tailgate-chili/

I followed suggestions from reviews and made some changes to the above recipe. Here are the changes made:

1) I used 4-5 hot italian sausages (uncooked) for sausage. Opened them up to get the ground meat inside. Mixed this with ground beef and cooked together as explained in the recipe

2) 4 (15 oz) cans chili beans in sauce, NOT drained.

3) I omitted the celery and tabasco sauce,

4) 1 jalapeno instead of chile peppers,

5) I made fresh bacon with thick cut strips and made pieces from it,

6) 1 cup of beer

7) Instead of using 2 (28oz) cans of diced tomatoes with juice, I used 3 (14 1/2 oz) can of diced tomatoes and 1 (14 1/2 oz) can of diced tomatoes with basil/oregano/garlic.

8) I cooked this in a slow cooker for 8-10 hours. We can refrigerate or freeze it, and reheat as well.

Toppings (optional) – Cheddar cheese shredded, Sour Cream, Green onions chopped, cilantro chopped, jalapenos chopped etc.

Chateaubriand – Beef Tenderloin

  • 1 beef tenderloin trimmed/peeled – approx. 4-5 lb
    •   ( I like the one from Costco, and it costs less than regular stores. If you are buying non-trimmed version, trim it before using. There are several you tube videos showing this)
  • Basting Oil with herbs in it (I used Wegman’s basting oil) – 4 tbsp
  • Garlic 6pods – cut in half
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 8 shallots, cut lengthwise into two or four pieces

For Sauce

  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • Brown Gravy mix – 2 -3 tsp
  • Water – as needed
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon (1 tablespoon fresh) – Optional

Clean & Wipe meat. If tenderloin is long, cut it into two pieces. I like to keep between 6-8inches. Some people argue that you should not wash meat with water, and should just wipe it out with a paper towel. Use your judgement on this… 🙂

Tie it up with butcher’s twine, so that it holds together while pan searing and cooking. http://www.foodrepublic.com/2013/11/06/why-do-you-tie-a-roast/

Just before cooking, sprinkle and coat meat with  Cracked pepper and Kosher salt generously. Don’t do this in advance as meat will get soggy.

Pan Sear meat in Basting Oil, shallots and garlic on all sides as shown in video starting at 5mts. Just to get it brown and sealed. If you have more pieces of tenderloin, use a separate dish for each. Save this pan for later for making sauce. It help with all the juices from the meat.

Heat oven to 400F. Take a dish for roasting meat, put couple of pieces of butter in it, and put it in the oven, so that to will be hot when you add meat to it. Don’t leave it for too long as butter will start getting burnt. I usually put this in the oven few minutes before pan searing will finish. Also, if you have more pieces of tenderloin, take multiple dishes.. so that you won’t overcrowd it.

Transfer meat to the dish(s) in the oven and let it roast at 400F. Cook until an instant-read thermometer registers temperature according to your doneness preference. See list below.

When it is done take it out of the oven and cover the beef in the foil that lines the dish and let it  rest it for 8-10 minutes.

Make sauce:

While the beef roasts, heat up the skillet with juice, shallots and garlic, we used for pan searing over medium heat. If you used multiple skillets, transfer juices to a single one.  Add 1 cup of wine and let it boil stirring often, to reduce to half  over medium-high heat. Add the beef broth or water, brown gravy mix, and reduce the heat to low. Stir and make sure it gets to a desired consistency. If it is too thin or thick, add wine/broth or grave mix to change it your desired consistency. Unwrap the tenderloin and stir any accumulated juices into the sauce. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  (Note: You can add chopped Rosemary or Tarragon to this while boiling. I haven’t tried these herbs yet)

Serving: Slice the meat and serve with the sauce.

Note: Will take pictures next time i make it, and attach here.

Meat cooking temperatures

Rare:  120-130 °F (50-55 °C) Internal appearance very red; very moist with warm juices. Approximate cooking and resting time: 20-25 min./lb. plus 8-10 min. resting

Medium-rare: 130-140 °F (55-60 °C) Internal appearance lighter red; very moist with warm juices. Approximate cooking and resting time: 25-30 min./lb.. plus 8-10 min. resting

Medium (with a touch of pink): 140-150 °F (60-65 °C) Internal appearance pink red color; moist with clear pink juice. Approximate cooking and resting time: 30-35 min./lb. plus 8-10 min. resting

Well-done: 150-165 °F (65-75 °C) Internal appearance no pink or red, slightly moist with clear juices

Watched multiple you tube videos on this to understand the recipe. I usually watch/read multiple recipes available when I want to try a new dish, and then use those ideas, to come up with a version that our family will like. Adding the one I liked most here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeO0tdKBAag 

Roast Beef in a CrockPot

One 3-pound beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 medium size Poatato
3 stalks celery, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
5 cloves garlic, mashed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup red wine
1.5 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tbl spoon dried chives pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 Sprig Rosemary
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped

Sprinkle the roast all over with salt and  pepper to your taste. Sprinkle/Coat in flour and shake off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the roast to the skillet and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer the roast to the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker, along with the carrots, celery, onions and garlic.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir until the oil begins to turn brick-red, about 1 minute. Add the flour and wine and whisk until thick (it’s OK if there are some lumps). Add the beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, chives, allspice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer, whisking, until the gravy is smooth and thickens slightly, about 4 minutes.

Pour the gravy into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. The roast and vegetables should be tender.

Remove the roast from crockpot and let rest for a few minutes. Discard any herb stems and strain the vegetables, reserving the gravy. Toss the vegetables with half the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Stir the remaining parsley into the gravy and season with salt and pepper. Slice the roast against the grain. Serve the meat and vegetables on a platter, moistening them with some of the gravy; serve the remaining gravy on the side.

Creamy Tortellini, Spinach and Chicken Soup

1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp dried basil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 to 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups frozen cheese tortellini (or you can use fresh)
3 cups packed spinach (you can definitely add more than this if you want)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream or 1 cup half and half

1. In a microwave-safe bowl add the onions, flour, basil, garlic, tomato paste and drizzle with olive oil. Microwave for 5 minutes, stirring every 90 seconds or so. (The mixture will be pasty and look weird but don’t worry it will all be okay in the end). Add the mixture to the slow cooker.
2. Add broth, tomatoes, chicken, salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Stir. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours (or until chicken is very tender).
3. Remove the lid and add in tortellini and spinach, Parmesan cheese and warmed cream (cream should be warmed because it may cause curdling if added in cold).
4. Use a fork to remove the chicken out of the slow cooker. On a cutting board, shred or cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Add the chicken back into the slow cooker. Put the lid back on and cook on HIGH for about 10 more minutes, or until the tortellini are cooked through.

Thanks to http://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/2014/11/slow-cooker-tortellini-spinach-soup.html

Roasted Red Pepper dip

3 RED bell peppers, roasted, skinned and diced to small pieces.
3/4 pound shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoon minced onion (red onion will be better)
4 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard

For roasting bell peppers:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Lay peppers on their sides on the foil, stems pointing sideways.
Put baking sheet in oven and allow peppers to roast for 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet. Using tongs, give the peppers a half turn, then place back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
Check to make sure peppers have fully roasted. The skin should be charred and soft, and the peppers should look slightly collapsed. If they don’t look ready, let them roast for a few more minutes. When they’re done, remove baking sheet from oven.
Take it outside and cover with foil and wait 10 mts to cool that down. Now peel skin and any charred parts.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a small baking dish, mix the roasted red peppers, Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, garlic and Dijon-style mustard.
Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve warm.

Tip: goes great with Pretzel thins, or Pita chips.

Synda’s baked potatoes with cheese

Red Potatoes (medium sized) – 6
Bread crumbs – plain bread crumbs works fine too – 1/2 cup
French’s Fried Onions powdered – one cup-
Salt and Pepper – to taste
Thyme Shredded – 1 teaspoon
Parmesan cheese – 1 cup
Olive Oil as needed to mix the above together (3 tbspn?)

Cut potatoes in small pieces.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, except cheese.
Put potatoes in the bowl and mix thoroughly
Put potatoes on a baking pan and sprinkle cheese on top
Bake at 450degrees for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown